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Out of the Mouths of BabesGirl Evangelists in the Flapper Era$
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Thomas A. Robinson and Lanette D. Ruff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199790876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790876.001.0001

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The Sexual Side of Selling Salvation

The Sexual Side of Selling Salvation

(p.60) Chapter 7 The Sexual Side of Selling Salvation
Out of the Mouths of Babes

Thomas A. Robinson

Lanette D. Ruff

Oxford University Press

The girl evangelist was viewed as the antithesis of the flapper, by her supporters and by the press and public. Since a bold sexuality was part of the flapper persona, the girl evangelists had to be careful to avoid any such appearance of using sexual charms. But revivalism, in many ways, was a stage, with the revivalist a star and the audience the fans. Aspects of sexuality could not be avoided in such an environment. Women revivalists such as Aimee Semple McPherson were sometimes accused of using her feminine charms, and some worried that at least an element of the audience who came to hear women and girl preachers had less than pure motives. Although the matter is rarely confronted head-on, there seems to have been a growing awareness of the problem, and this in some ways helped bring about a decline in the phenomenon.

Keywords:   sex and selling salvation, women revivalists, flapper, Aimee Semple McPherson

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